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Senior Sendoff at Bentonville High School

Posted By Carolyn Bradley On April 30, 2019 @ 9:35 pm In Customs,Initiations,Life cycle,Rituals, festivals, holidays | Comments Disabled

Abstract:

This piece is about Bentonville High School’s senior sendoff tradition that involved a spirit group called the Men in Black.

Main Piece:

“C: How about from your hometown or high school? Do you guys have any traditions or anything?

S: Oh yeah, okay so… Yeah we had a couple. Our senior sendoff was different. So we had two buildings at our high school and there was this road that divides them in the middle. So what would happen is, I was in this group called the Men in Black.

C: Like the movies?

S: Well, my high school was 4,200 kids. So a very big high school and there was a group of about 10 or 15 senior boys every year that would lead spirit things and student section things.

C: Oh so like the spirit club?

S: Yeah, but we were like badass. That was us. Like everyone knew that we were cool. Like we were the cool guys. So what would happen is, everyone would bring their cars to that middle part for senior sendoff and the Men in Black would be on top of the cars leading everything. And then all the seniors would gather around and the underclassmen would watch from the outside. And then you count down and then people would go crazy honking the horns and everything. It’s this huge thing.”

Context:

The informant is a 20 year old from Bentonville, Arkansas and has a lot of school spirit. He was a member of the Men in Black throughout high school and participated in the senior sendoffs at his school.

Analysis:

Any kind of senior sendoff tradition is significant because it signifies the start of a new time in one’s life. It is a milestone that most American students cross at some point and they are often made special due to the significance of the event. I think one interesting aspect of this piece and the experience is that it is led by a spirit group that calls themselves the Men in Black. In the movies, the purpose of the Men in Black are to have people who witness aliens forget their experience. Though in this senior sendoff, it seems that they are trying to make it as memorable as possible.


Article printed from USC Digital Folklore Archives: http://folklore.usc.edu

URL to article: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=45850